The Apple Watch continues to be the best smartwatch on the market with it offering a huge range of health benefits and ways to stay connected without needing a phone.
Now, this popular device has just got even better for users in the UK thanks to a major update from Apple.
The US technology firm has just rolled out some software changes to the latest Series 4 Watch which brings improved heart rate tracking and the ability to record an ECG (electrocardiogram) straight from your wrist.
Owners in the US have had these features for some time but it’s now finally arrived on this side of the Atlantic.
Once the new watchOS 5.1.2 update is installed, users can then simply launch the ECG app and use the digital crown to perform the test.
As the user touches the watch, the circuit is completed and electrical signals across their heart are measured.
After 30 seconds, the heart rhythm is revealed with all recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms then stored in the Health app on iPhone.
Users can even store a PDF of the reading which can then be shown to doctors for them to gain insights about a person’s heart rhythm and look for irregularities.
Along with the ECG reading, there is also another feature of this update which could help to spot life-threading atrial fibrillation (AFib).
The irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch can now also occasionally check heart rhythms in the background and send a notification if an irregular heart rhythm is identified.
AFib is one of the leading conditions that can result in stroke, the second most common cause of death around the world. The AF Association estimates there are around 1.5 million people in the UK living with atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm problem, but a third of these people may be unaware of this.
The ECG app and irregular rhythm notification are now CE marked and cleared in the European Economic Area.
These features are available on Apple Watch Series 4 in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US and US Virgin Islands, and require iPhone 5s or later on iOS 12.2.
Apple is keen to point out that this update will not detect a heart attack, blood clots, a stroke or other heart-related conditions including high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, high cholesterol or other forms of arrhythmia.
Speaking at the launch of the Apple Watch Series 4 last year, Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said: “We’re thrilled Apple Watch has become an essential part of people’s lives.
“The completely redesigned Apple Watch Series 4 continues to be an indispensable communication and fitness companion, and now with the addition of groundbreaking features, like fall detection and the first-ever ECG app offered directly to consumers, it also becomes an intelligent guardian for your health.”